Greatness – A word that everyone is in absolute awe of; an honor that many would give away their very lives to achieve. And yet, those rare few who did achieve it were barely even interested in it! How did that come to be, you wonder? It happened, because the greatest men and women who walked amongst us weren’t exactly chasing greatness – they were just following their true passion. Are you doing the same?
Here are 10 people (there are many more) who have achieved legendary status in their respective professions, simply by staying true to their true passion!
1. Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam
The former president of India, also known as the ‘Missile Man’, came from a humble background in Tamil Nadu. As a child, he was deeply fascinated by space and was highly passionate about ‘conquering the skies’ in one way or the other. His passion took him to the Aeronautical Development Establishment of DRDO (Defence Research & Development Organization) and eventually to the ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization) – where he showed the world that even the sky isn’t the limit when one has ‘Wings of Fire!’ It is his love, dedication and passion towards his job that made him the man that he was.
2. Nikola Tesla
The man to whom we owe the very presence of electricity in our homes, Nikola Tesla was a man driven by passion for his job. Also credited for his path breaking work on electric motors, X-Rays, Hydroelectricity and Wireless Communications among others, Nikola was so passionate about experimenting with stuff that he was known to stay locked up in his room for days on end, putting things together and calibrating every creation of his to perfection! No wonder his passion took him to great heights.
3. Steve Jobs
He’s known for giving the world a seamless mobile and computing user interface that’s beautiful to look at and easy to navigate. What’s not too well known about Steve Jobs though – is the fact that he took calligraphy lessons to better understand what fonts to select for his operating system; and even pursued Zen Buddhism in an endeavor to understand how the human mind thinks and acts! Do we even need to add that he was also the guru of ‘following one’s true passion’ — for the remarkable success that he achieved as an innovator?
4. Sachin Tendulkar
Little Master, Master Blaster, Bombay Bomber — the names change, the man and his true passion remain the same. Perhaps the greatest batsmen that the world has ever known; Sachin Tendulkar; was once just a 14-year-old boy who used to practice cricketing shots in a room…with a ball tied to a string! Such was his dedication to his true passion that he even practiced his skills on wet rubber balls and tennis balls to simulate the experience of playing on spin-friendly pitches! Is it any wonder then – that his relentless pursuit of his true passion got him where he is today?
5. Wilbur and Orville Wright
The first passion-driven ‘duo’ to feature on this list, the Wright Brothers were driven with just one obsession – to develop the ability to soar high into the skies and go where no human being has ever been before. Once pursuing a commonplace career in the printing industry together – the Wright Brothers’ changed career tracks to spend hours building sand cushions and wind tunnels – in order to safely launch themselves into the air on a plane and make history! To anyone who says sky is the limit when it comes to following ones’ passion, we say, it’s just the very beginning!
6. Anurag Kashyap
As a college student, Anurag Kashyap was extremely passionate about theater and films. We say ‘extremely’ because he attended the International Film Festival of India in Delhi — and watched every single one of the 55 films screened during the festival! He boldly decided to pursue his true passion for a living and came to Mumbai apparently with just Rs. 3,000 in his pocket; then slept on beaches, parking lots, and even under a water tank! Little wonder then that his dreams came to fruition in a massive way, where he became famous for directing huge box office successes such as Dev.D, Gangs Of Wasseypur and Bombay Velvet!
Marshall Mathers – best known as Eminem – was very passionate about rapping since his childhood days. However, he was barely accepted or acknowledged as an hip-hop artiste primarily due to prevalent cultural stereotypes and racial conflicts. Driven as he was, Eminem stayed true to his passion and practiced his art whenever he found free time; sometimes even writing rap songs on tissue papers and visiting cards! Eventually, his true passion brought him the nickname of ‘Rap God’; a title that many fellow musicians would kill to own!
8. J.K. Rowling
‘Struggler’ was practically Joanne K Rowling’s middle name. Born and brought up in Gloucestershire, England; Rowling went from being the ‘nerdiest student’ in school to a bilingual secretary and an English teacher. Born with the heart and soul of a writer; she decided to give her true passion a chance and wrote the now legendary ‘Harry Potter’ series. Not only did she channel many of her life-experiences as plots in her books; she also paved the way for countless others by showing people that following one’s passion can do miracles for them!
9. Sylvester Stallone
If ‘true passion’ was a movie – you’d find Sylvester Stallone starring in it as its lead actor. A student of drama and theater, Stallone was hell-bent upon following his true passion in acting even if it meant having to do odd jobs in the meantime such as cleaning lions’ cages at zoos. Putting everything on the line, he approached directors with a self-created script for Rocky that featured him in the lead role; and the rest, as the cliché goes, is history.
10. Sudha Chandran
When your passion becomes your job, even disability can’t handicap your sky-high aspirations. Just take the example of dancer and actress Sudha Chandran, who was incredibly passionate about the fascinating art of classical dance. Not only did she turn her true passion into a lifelong career – she didn’t stop even after losing a leg in a car accident, thus becoming an inspirational icon to millions of others! Her passion and her determination made her a household name all across India, not only for her dance skills, but also for her amazing acting skills. We salute her amazing will to pursue her passion for a living, at all costs!